The body pushed to its limit, and then some. The heart ambushed by loss. The mind confined to its narrow repetitive lines. Lord, you know how lost and impoverished I have become. How little is left here but a pitiful flood of unwept tears. What she said, and later regretted saying, is no less true. I have no direction. I don’t have it now, and I never did. So direct me, omnipotent Director. Let me loose to love and serve and give you glory. To live as a free man might choose to live. Let me not tarry here for longer than necessary. I have already done that, and then some. It’s getting late. November again, and thirty Novembers come and gone. And the late autumn wind, I don’t have a clue what it’s saying. I can’t decipher a tale of daring in its chill refrain. I can only read the numbers on the fraying calendar. And the numbers don’t lie. The numbers say it’s almost December. And I can’t remember why I’m here.
Without your sun, I become a hard knot of tension in a dark room with the windows shut and the shades drawn. Without your touch, I suffocate as I try to incorporate the abundant silence of dawn. Without your bread, I stuff my buffering brain with empty calories of heady knowledge. Without your breath, I gulp the humid air, straining to fill the floors in my body’s home, as if intending to hoard a diminishing commodity. Without your ear, I swoon on the seesaw of a thousand dualities. Dizzy as an erratic acrobat, I long to climb down off my childish contraption, surrender to the soft grass, and gaze up in wonder at the black sky, re-establishing contact with night. Only there, aware of my smallness and your grandeur, can I ask from the last dregs of my solitude: ‘O Most High, tender attendant of stardust, won’t you seal my heart’s cup? Let me end these litanies of lament, and glorify your fine handiwork.’ But how do I praise the sweet juice oozing from a plate of Mazafati dates, while I waste away in a fruitless desert? So many worlds of difference exist between taking the cup with a willing heart and sucking it down with a heartless will. Lord, let the seeds of willingness spill through the holes of this powerless body and grow fertile in the holy ground of my soul. As my physical form slowly declines, may my essential nature gradually arise, and may I ride that transmutation train through the dense towns of my pain, down into the sacred center of now.
Let the darkness of a solitary night unbind the chains and find the hidden pain in my deepest heart, the weeping son given all but that sole food his soul is starving for.
Friend: stay near graced nights
We stayed true to pain and need,
Bared torn hearts — chained, freed.
The day begins with a fire that cannot be seen
like a young girl who does not speak
for fear of losing what burns within her.
The day begins with birds that cannot be seen
singing like those who know better than to speak
and so lose what gives them song.
The day begins with doors that cannot be closed
allowing what has lost itself with yearning
to find itself as it burns.
As the day begins,
everyone needs to get something out
to let something in:
By the end of the day,
no one remembers what it was.
No one knows
to get out
and let in
the same thing
in their own way.
What feeds the ember
feeds the hungering soul —
rootless — seeking its own root
in flames that grow invisible.
The hard wood crackles in growing flame
inside invisible growth
as the heart withstands the splintering
forced upon it to remain soft.
As the day begins.
Already the day begins, but
the bottom of the root has not reached
the top of the stem, and I
am not ready for beginnings.
The day begins
only when I begin to listen
to each moment ending
and each moment beginning.
I hear the unheard as the day begins:
I hear the pressed down sobs of young children
setting up lemonade stands
to cool the mid-July heat of unspoken divisions
and prove their own grown-upness,
prove their groundedness
to intoxicated parents,
who are like children in their pettiness.
I see the unseen as the day begins:
I see the homelessness
that hides behind estate gates;
I see the clenched souls
that hide behind open faces;
I see the wrenching sorrow
that hides behind too-wide grins;
I see the yearning for purity
that hides behind drunken eyes.
And I feel the untouched as the day begins:
I feel the push for contact,
and I feel the pull back;
I feel the pain of the one
who does not know how to be
and I feel the pain of the one
who does not know how to be
And I feel the pain of the one who knows she is alone,
I feel her struggle to make contact;
I feel what she feels
when she finds herself
to touch the truth
of her aloneness.
As the day begins.